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Strong Aftershocks Rock Northern Pakistan

  • Robert Berger

Strong aftershocks have rocked northern Pakistan 11 days after the earthquake that killed an estimated 48,000 people, but there are no reports of more deaths or injuries. Relief efforts are continuing.

It is a treacherous ride through a narrow, winding and pock-marked mountain road to the hard hit town of Bogh in a remote area of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. The road is blocked at times by rocks and mud from landslides caused by the earthquake and aftershocks. Trucks laden with relief supplies often get stuck and block traffic, and sometimes villagers swoop in and raid the goods.

But aid is arriving in Bogh, slowly but surely.

Supplies are piling up at a makeshift aid center, nestled in a river valley between majestic pine-studded mountains. There is plenty of food, including rice, biscuits and flour, as well as blankets and clothing.

But that is little solace in a town where the homes are in ruins. Small camps have sprung up all over, with ramshackle huts made of anything from blankets to plastic bags to aluminum sheeting. But most people are out in the open, exposed to the sun by day and cold by night. What is sorely missing is tents.

"I need mostly tents, I did say before this, tents, tents, tents," says Bogh resident Luf Karmelik. He told VOA that while the days are tolerable, the nights are unbearable.

"All the people shivering with cold due to earthquake," he said.

Temperatures are already falling to 5 degrees Celsius at night. And the bitter Himalayan winter is just a month away.

"Winter is coming soon, all the people are worried about the winter season," said Mr. Karmelik.

Pakistan has appealed to the international community for 200,000 tents. If they do not arrive in time, thousands of people here could freeze to death.